A spate of press reports on Monday heralded the latest takeover deal by Google Inc. -- an apparent $400 million purchase of ICOA Inc., a Warwick, R.I., company that makes Wi-Fi hotspots for public areas like parks and airports, CNNMoney reported.
Not so fast, ICOA executives said soon after. Turns out the press release announcing the deal was a hoax.
The official-looking notice appeared on PRWeb, a distributor of press releases and other corporate announcements. The story was then reported by several news organizations, including the Associated Press, as well as tech blogs, such as TechCrunch.
George Strouthopoulos, CEO of ICOA, said the company is investigating the source of the fake release, and it plans to report the results to law enforcement. "Someone, I guess a stock promoter with a dubious interest, is disseminating wrong, false and misleading info in the PR circles," he said.
Someone moved piles of ICOA's stock on Monday. Nearly 330 million shares changed hands, according to OTCMarkets.com, compared with the stock's usual daily volume of around 2.6 million shares.